Why the Circular Economy is more than a fad and must be highlighted as part of Brexit
As a sustainability professional, I have long championed the opportunities offered by the circular economy. The opportunities for adding value by applying circular thinking to the way a company works in virtually any and every sector, are significant. But the challenge is to change economic thinking which won’t happen overnight.
It requires the replacement of the linear ‘take, make, dispose’ to a new approach designed to reduce and eliminate waste. Changing the way people and business think will be the biggest challenge that lies ahead, but change has begun. And it requires more traction.
And Brexit must be leveraged to jump start that traction.
Fortunately, market forces already contribute to boosting circular economy. For companies, the circular economy makes an excellent business case as far as improved resource efficiency, better productivity and new opportunities are concerned. This requires, however, that the business environment is favourable for innovations, investments and trade. Open markets are therefore vital for this to happen and for circularity to happen.
According to a report by Imperial College London, a circular society could boost the UK’s economy by 1.8% and employment levels by 10% by 2025. This would add £29 billion to national GDP and create 175,000 new jobs. Whilst the European Union has produced its own Circular Economy Action Plan and the UK participated in its development, we still don’t know what the new framework will be for our relationship with the EU. What we do know is that we still need to trade our European neighbours, so ensuring that Britain is on board with the circular economy must be a key option for politicians and business. Now is the time for supporters of the circular economy to present the strong case to ministers.
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